You Paid 100 Percent Too Much For Your Last Google Ad

We all know that the impact on online display ads has fallen since their heyday in the early 2000s—and prices have fallen too. But prices may not nearly have come down enough to compensate for the loss in visibility, if a new study by Google is to be trusted.

Google’s display ads, like many, are priced per impression or “view”—in other words, based on the apparent value of the real estate as determined by page traffic. But how many of those viewers actually saw an ad? According to Google, it was less than half.

Specifically, only 56.1 percent of display ads even had a chance to be seen, because the others were placed somewhere that never even got on a viewer’s screen, like below the fold if they didn’t scroll down.

That’s a pretty astonishing number, implying half of paid ads were just money thrown out the window. But savvy advertisers should bear a few things in mind about this news:

  1. This isn’t that different from other ad channels. While 56 percent may seem like a damning revelation, other types of ads don’t always get seen either. How many TV viewers, for example, actually sit and watch a commercial break when it comes on? And how many drivers look up and see each billboard they pass? This shocking statistic mostly underscores that on the internet there are more tracking tools available than with other channels—meaning we get to see the dirty little secrets that other channels keep concealed.
  2. Use this fact for bargaining power. If all or a portion of your display ads with a given vendor will be below the fold, you’ll still get clicks and conversions out of them, you’ll just get less than above the fold. Accordingly, the price should be lower. Consider citing this study when asking for a lower price than what’s originally quoted.
  3. Focus on clicks, not views. At least some online ad venues are now basing prices on the number of clicks, not the number of “views” an ad supposedly gets. Asking for this form of pricing is definitely in your best interest when buying ad space. However, even if you are paying per impression you can still benefit from this knowledge by evaluating the success of your advertising solely on clicks, not on views. (This is something that many companies have emphasized all along.) Of course, the conversion rate of those clicks remains largely up to you.
  4. Below the fold still has value. In the hubbub following the release of Google’s study, remember that real estate below the fold is still a good buy. The best above the fold space had a viewability rate of 60-odd percent; the best below the fold had a rate of over 40. The rates vary with types website as well (games and online communities get more below-the-fold views). In other words, below the fold ad space at a good price can be quite effective.

Will Google adjust its pricing or its ad placement methods based on this new information? The answer is most likely yes: they wouldn’t have released the study if they weren’t interested in proving to advertisers that they can price their ads competitively. No matter what the price for the ad space, however, clicks and conversions still depend on how good an ad is in the first place, and that’s something EverSpark can help with. Contact us for your free consultation today.

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